Category Archives: Politics & Government

On Marriage & Equality

The Supreme Court issued two major opinions this week, and this quote from a decade ago seems to sum up our feelings on the subject quite nicely: “Marriage bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly […]

In Support of a Human Rights Activist in Angola

I’ve known human rights activist and journalist Rafael Marques de Morais for several years now. His work raising awareness of the plight of diamond miners in Angola is remarkable and we’ve done what we can to support his efforts. For many years, the private security services hired to protect diamond mining concessions operated by civilian business partners […]

Wolves and Gemstones and Other Rare Things

On Friday, the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced a plan to remove endangered species protection for all Gray Wolves in the lower 48 states, with a small exception for a population of seventy-five Mexican wolves in Arizona and New Mexico. After eighteen years, federal authorities will now shift all responsibility for wolf conservation on […]

Washington DC, Advocacy, and Sequestration

Lately, I’ve had a flurry of meetings in Washington, so lots of back-and-forth travel between Chicago and DC. The topics have covered the full spectrum, from human rights to worker rights, from the environment to economic issues happening here in America. For this post, I had this beautiful shot of the Capitol dome gleaming in the […]

Today is International Women’s Day

March 8 is the date designated by the United Nations to commemorate the role women play in developing a peaceful society and a time to call for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic process globally. The 2013 theme for International Women’s Day is: “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against […]

Take Action to Stop the Pebble Mine!

We’ve long talked about the potentially devastating consequences the proposed Pebble Mine near Pebble Bay, Alaska poses if it is allowed to proceed. We were among the first to speak out on the grave impact this mine will inflict on this fragile natural area and have used our voice to express the fears and concerns of […]

Burma’s Jade War Continues…

The conflict in resource-rich Kachin state between government troops hoping to secure control over the vast jadeite resources and the armed wing of the Kachin Independence Organization persists, despite calls for an end to the bloodshed. Even the country’s president, Thein Sein last month voiced support for a ceasefire, but those calls were promptly ignored […]

Kimberley Process Lowers the Bar…Again

Despite the objections from a number of civil society groups, the Kimberley Process has decided to withdraw monitors and allow unhindered exports of diamonds from Zimbabwe’s troubled Marange region. One of the main concerns remaining is that revenue from Zimbabwe’s diamonds is being used to directly fund Robert Mugabe, his allies, and the political party […]

Brian Leber Quoted by Voice of America

An article published by Voice of America entitled “Activists Wary of US Easing Ban on Burmese Imports,” highlights the concerns many activists, including Leber Jeweler president Brian Leber, share regarding Burma’s future, as western countries begin to look toward the resource-rich country for investment opportunities. As we mentioned in our November 17th journal post, the […]

Burmese Ruby: The Sanctions Will Remain

Burma is a country in flux. It’s making the first hesitant steps away from decades of brutal repression. Yet, despite the glimmering of hope, many problems still remain. Scores of political prisoners are still behind bars, the official government is primarily comprised of military and former military leaders, and human rights abuses continue in many […]